Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 20. CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT [30000 - 30900]

  ( Division 20 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330. )

CHAPTER 4. Creation, Membership, and Powers of Commission and Regional Commissions [30300 - 30355]

  ( Chapter 4 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1330. )

ARTICLE 2.5. Fairness and Due Process [30320 - 30329]
  ( Article 2.5 added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. )

30320.
  

(a) The people of California find and declare that the duties, responsibilities, and quasi-judicial actions of the commission are sensitive and extremely important for the well-being of current and future generations and that the public interest and principles of fundamental fairness and due process of law require that the commission conduct its affairs in an open, objective, and impartial manner free of undue influence and the abuse of power and authority. It is further found that, to be effective, California’s coastal protection program requires public awareness, understanding, support, participation, and confidence in the commission and its practices and procedures. Accordingly, this article is necessary to preserve the public’s welfare and the integrity of, and to maintain the public’s trust in, the commission and the implementation of this division.

(b) The people of California further find that in a democracy, due process, fairness, and the responsible exercise of authority are all essential elements of good government which require that the public’s business be conducted in public meetings, with limited exceptions for sensitive personnel matters and litigation, and on the official record. Reasonable restrictions are necessary and proper to prevent future abuses and misuse of governmental power so long as all members of the public are given adequate opportunities to present their views and opinions to the commission through written or oral communications on the official record either before or during the public hearing on any matter before the commission.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30321.
  

For purposes of this article, “a matter within the commission’s jurisdiction” means any permit action, federal consistency review, appeal, local coastal program, port master plan, public works plan, long-range development plan, categorical or other exclusions from coastal development permit requirements, or any other quasi-judicial matter requiring commission action, for which an application has been submitted to the commission.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30322.
  

(a) For purposes of this article, except as provided in subdivision (b), an “ex parte communication” is any oral or written communication between a member of the commission and an interested person, about a matter within the commission’s jurisdiction, which does not occur in a public hearing, workshop, or other official proceeding, or on the official record of the proceeding on the matter.

(b) The following communications are not ex parte communications:

(1) Any communication between a staff member acting in his or her official capacity and any commission member or interested person.

(2) Any communication limited entirely to procedural issues, including, but not limited to, the hearing schedule, location, format, or filing date.

(3) Any communication which takes place on the record during an official proceeding of a state, regional, or local agency that involves a member of the commission who also serves as an official of that agency.

(4) Any communication between a member of the commission, with regard to any action of another state agency or of a regional or local agency of which the member is an official, and any other official or employee of that agency, including any person who is acting as an attorney for the agency.

(5) Any communication between a nonvoting commission member and a staff member of a state agency where both the commission member and the staff member are acting in an official capacity.

(6) Any communication to a nonvoting commission member relating to an action pending before the commission, where the nonvoting commission member does not participate in that action, either through written or verbal communication, on or off the record, with other members of the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 798, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1994.)

30323.
  

For purposes of this article, an “interested person” is any of the following:

(a) Any applicant, an agent or an employee of the applicant, or a person receiving consideration for representing the applicant, or a participant in the proceeding on any matter before the commission.

(b) Any person with a financial interest, as described in Article 1 (commencing with Section 87100) of Chapter 7 of Title 9 of the Government Code, in a matter before the commission, or an agent or employee of the person with a financial interest, or a person receiving consideration for representing the person with a financial interest.

(c) A representative acting on behalf of any civic, environmental, neighborhood, business, labor, trade, or similar organization who intends to influence the decision of a commission member on a matter before the commission.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30324.
  

(a) No commission member, nor any interested person, shall conduct an ex parte communication unless the commission member fully discloses and makes public the ex parte communication by providing a full report of the communication to the executive director within seven days after the communication or, if the communication occurs within seven days of the next commission hearing, to the commission on the record of the proceeding at that hearing.

(b) (1) The commission shall adopt standard disclosure forms for reporting ex parte communications which shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following information:

(A) The date, time, and location of the communication.

(B) (i) The identity of the person or persons initiating and the person or persons receiving the communication.

(ii) The identity of the person on whose behalf the communication was made.

(iii) The identity of all persons present during the communication.

(C) A complete, comprehensive description of the content of the ex parte communication, including a complete set of all text and graphic material that was part of the communication.

(2) The executive director shall place in the public record any report of an ex parte communication.

(c) Communications shall cease to be ex parte communications when fully disclosed and placed in the commission’s official record.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 125, Sec. 1. (AB 474) Effective January 1, 2015.)

30325.
  

Nothing in this article prohibits any person or any interested person from testifying at a commission hearing, workshop, or other official proceeding, or from submitting written comments for the record on a matter before the commission. Written comments shall be submitted by mail or delivered to a commission office, or may be delivered to the commission at the time and place of a scheduled hearing.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30326.
  

Any person, including a commission member, may request the commission staff to conduct a workshop on any matter before the commission or on any subject that could be useful to the commission. When the executive director determines that a request is appropriate and feasible, a workshop shall be scheduled at an appropriate time and location.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30327.
  

(a) No commission member or alternate shall make, participate in making, or any other way attempt to use his or her official position to influence a commission decision about which the member or alternate has knowingly had an ex parte communication that has not been reported pursuant to Section 30324.

(b) In addition to any other applicable penalty, including a civil fine imposed pursuant to Section 30824, a commission member who knowingly violates this section shall be subject to a civil fine, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500). Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the court may award attorneys’ fees and costs to the prevailing party.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 798, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1994.)

30327.5.
  

(a) An interested person shall not give, convey, or make available gifts aggregating more than ten dollars ($10) in a calendar month to a commissioner or a member of the commission’s staff.

(b) A commissioner or member of the commission’s staff shall not accept gifts aggregating more than ten dollars ($10) in a calendar month from an interested person.

(c) For purposes of this section, “interested person” shall have the same meaning as the term is defined in Section 30323.

(d) For purposes of this section, “gift” means, except as provided in subdivision (e), a payment, as defined in Section 82044 of the Government Code, that confers a personal benefit on the recipient, to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received and includes a rebate or discount in the price of anything of value unless the rebate or discount is made in the regular course of business to members of the public without regard to official status. A person, other than a defendant in a criminal action, who claims that a payment is not a gift by reason of receipt of consideration has the burden of proving that the consideration received is of equal or greater value.

(e) For purposes of this section, “gift” does not include any of the following:

(1) A gift that is not used and that, within 30 days after receipt, is either returned to the donor or delivered to a nonprofit entity exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, without being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes.

(2) A gift from an individual’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, or first cousin, or the spouse of one of those individuals. However, a gift from one of those people shall be considered a gift if the donor is acting as an agent or intermediary for a person not covered in this paragraph.

(3) A cost associated with the provision of evidentiary material provided to the commission and its staff.

(4) An educational or training activity that has received prior approval from the commission.

(5) A field trip or site inspection that is made available on equal terms and conditions to all commissioners and appropriate staff.

(6) A reception or purely social event that is not offered in connection with or is not intended to influence a decision or action of the commission and that is open to all commissioners, members of the staff, and members of the public and press.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 179, Sec. 188. Effective January 1, 2009.)

30327.6.
  

(a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who for compensation attempts to influence or affect the outcome of a commission decision or action and who violates Section 30327.5 may, in addition to any other applicable penalty, be barred from any activity seeking to influence or affect the outcome of a commission decision or action for a period of up to one year from the date of the finding of the violation. Each violation shall be grounds for the person being barred from any activity seeking to influence or affect a commission decision or action for an additional year from the date of conviction.

(2) This section does not prohibit an individual from representing himself or herself in seeking to influence or affect the outcome of a commission decision or action if that individual is acting solely on his or her own personal behalf and not on behalf of another person or entity.

(b) A person who violates Section 30327.5 shall, in addition to any other applicable penalty, be subject to a civil fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 179, Sec. 189. Effective January 1, 2009.)

30328.
  

If a violation of this article occurs and a commission decision may have been affected by the violation, an aggrieved person, as described in Section 30801, may seek a writ of mandate from a court requiring the commission to revoke its action and rehear the matter.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1114, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

30329.
  

Notwithstanding Section 11425.10 of the Government Code, the ex parte communications provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Article 7 (commencing with Section 11430.10) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) do not apply to proceedings of the California Coastal Commission under this division.

(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 938, Sec. 83. Effective January 1, 1996. Operative July 1, 1997, by Sec. 98 of Ch. 938.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC2.5